Your friendly neighbourhood firefighter has the third most stressful job, according to a work-stress survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Everest College in Ontario.
Running into burning buildings is very stressful, the study says. Also, the bursts of stress between lulls that a firefighter experiences is more stressful than a steady stream of stress, it says.
"It doesn't surprise me at all," said Alex Forrest, president of United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg, Local 867. "That's why post traumatic stress disorder is common among firefighters, police officers and emergency service workers," Forrest said.
There's also a high rate of heart disease and heart attacks among firefighters, he said. "Every time you're in fire hall and get an alarm, your level of stress goes up, and your adrenalin fight or flight reaction."
The most stressful job is military personnel in the front lines, followed by the military generals who send personnel to the front, according to the survey. Fourth on the stress list is a commercial airline pilot bearing the responsibility of so many people's lives. Fifth is a public relations executive. Part of the problem is public relations "is a very thankless job," the study said.
The survey used 11 criteria to determine stress including physical danger, how much you work in the public eye, and having responsibility for other people's lives.